Rob Richie, executive director of FairVote, said:
"Dominating a party" and "extreme" can be in the eyes of the beholder, but clearly both major parties have constituencies with special access and influence. But grounded in the racial and ethnic makeup of their respective core backers, Democratic constituencies can be more visibly seen as tied to 'identity politics" -- constituencies of people of color, sexual orientation, unions, women's rights, environmental groups and so on.
That said, the Republican Party more easily can win majorities in the US Senate and House by appealing primarily to their base. If every state elected U.S. Senators according to which party's presidential candidate carried that state in evenly divided presidential races, the Republicans would win a strong majority of more than 55 Senators. If every congressional district elected U.S. House members according to which party's presidential candidate carried that district in evenly divided presidential races, Republicans again would win a strong majority of seats. So as a whole, Democrats need to be at least somewhat more sensitive to swing voters and, specifically, voters who split their tickets for Democrats in congressional races and Republican in presidential races.
Dean Baker, co-director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research, said:
Does the far left have any impact on the Democratic Party?
Last I looked, the Dems supported giving trillions of dollars in loans and loan guarantees to the Wall Street banks, protecting them from the big bad market. They also support trade agreements that extend monopoly protections for the big drug companies and the entertainment industry.
Meanwhile, the percentage of black teens who are working has fallen by two-thirds from its level a decade ago. Much of the party seems content to live with near double-digit unemployment for the foreseeable future. And, they don't want to do anything to help homeowners facing foreclosure that will make the banks unhappy.
The better question is, does the far right have more influence on the Democratic Party than the far left?
Peter Navarro, professor of economics and public policy at U.C. Irvine, said:
The two-party, partisan primary system coupled with gerrymandering encourages extremism on both sides. The Far Left looks more far out because more of its doctrine is based on faith rather than logic and the Far Right looks more cold because of a preference for efficiency over equity. Both ends of the spectrum are equally powerful and both are a zealot’s pox on the American house not because of their beliefs but because of their undue power over the electoral process.
Justin Raimondo, editorial director of Antiwar.com, said:
The concept of "extremism" is highly subjective: is giving the big banks trillions of taxpayer dollars in a "bailout" an extreme idea? Is the whole idea of "too big to fail" extreme? Well, yes, if you think the Constitution and the traditional American idea of limited government are the norm. On the other hand, if you think the Constitution and limited government are in themselves "extreme" concepts, well then — you see where I'm going with this.
Inside the Washington Beltway, a presumption exists in favor of big government, and anything that challenges this is considered "kooky." Yet outside that self-enclosed bubble, there is another country, the place where most of us live — and these two countries have very different ideas of what constitutes "extremism."
Bernie Quigley, Pundits Blog contributor, said:
Far right and far left no longer describe the evolving American political condition. The influence of Libertarianism, particularly Ron Paul’s outlook, is shaping the new century. Five years ago only a few hundred of us were listening to ideas about Austrian economics and state sovereignty. Today, millions hear these from Judge Andrew Napolitano and Ron Paul and over 60 percent of Americans think the federal government has more power. Until recently the political/economic formula for the U.S. and Europe was Marx vs. Keynes or more often, like we have with the Obama administration a Keynes/Marx hybrid. The operational division ahead will be Keynes vs. Friedrich Hayek. It is already happening in Europe and Germany, in direct opposition to American will, has taken the initiative. Marx is gone with the wind.